25 ways to be a cheapass

I suppose I could have named this list-post 25 ways to save more money but cheapass sounds much better.  Add your favourite ways to be a cheapass in a comment below or Tweet me.

  1. Turn off lights when you leave a room – save energy and your money.
  2. Walk or bike as much as you can – better for your health too. 
  3. Do your own housekeeping – don’t pay money for things you can afford to do yourself with no risk. 
  4. Don’t pay bank fees – Captain Obvious. 
  5. Use vinegar and water for a household cleaner – it just works. 
  6. Price match for groceries when you can.
  7. Quit or never smoke.
  8. Don’t drink (very much).
  9. Always do your laundry in off-peak hours.
  10. Buy in bulk when you find a good deal.
  11. Use glass containers to preserve food (instead of plastic bags) – better for the planet too. 
  12. Don’t run any tap water unless you need to.
  13. Have friends and family over for dinner.
  14. Use old clothes for cleaning rags.
  15. Use only energy efficient appliances in your home.
  16. Pack your lunch for work or learn to love leftovers from the night before. 
  17. Use VOIP for a home phone or use only a cell phone for your home phone. 
  18. Make coffee and tea at home.
  19. Raise your auto insurance deductible – this should lower your insurance premiums. 
  20. Grow your own vegetables.
  21. Use CFL or LED lightbulbs – again, better for the planet too. 
  22. Don’t buy bottled water.
  23. Exercise at home (instead of a gym membership).
  24. Sell unwanted crap.
  25. Use coupons and other deals.

By cutting back here and there you can afford to do more enjoyable things with your hard-earned money.  Add to the list folks and let’s see if we can trend this on social media! #cheapass

38 Responses to "25 ways to be a cheapass"

  1. Here’s a few more for the frugally-aware:
    don’t buy coffee, ever. Make/bring your own.
    don’t drink bottled water, ever. Drink tap water or get an under-sink water filter system.
    don’t buy processed food – cook your own from scratch. Healthier, tastier and cheaper.
    anything to create sweat equity – mow your lawn, wash your floor etc.
    use free banking banking products like Tangerine, PC Financial
    buy a foaming soap dispenser, then refill with liquid soap and dilute with water (1:10 ratio)
    get movies and TV shows from your library for free
    buy an electric vehicle… save on gas, no more oil changes

    1. To your points:

      We make our own coffee 95% of the time.
      We buy bottled water now and then, every few months for $1.99 per case.
      We make our own dinners (avoid processed foods).
      I enjoy mowing my yard 🙂
      We are considering buying an electric vehicle.

      Thanks for your contributions Erik.

  2. Try not going to a restaurant – ever! Also, never buy any newspapers or magazines – is there not enough good stuff to read online? (this site alone will keep me going for a long time!)

    1. Very true FI.

      I have a new magazine subscriptions but they are blog-related, personal finance related so I can offset those expenses as part of my small business.

  3. I do most of these things, except I don’t use VOIP (though I don’t have a home phone in general) and I have a $10/month gym membership which I use regularly, though I must be a cheapass because I’ve been thinking lately that maybe I should cut the gym membership and save the $120/year!

    We also have been cheapasses by not subscribing to cable, only having one smart phone between the two of us and finding things that we need for the house for free or cheap on Craigslist. Gotta love a deal!

    1. I think if you enjoy the membership, keep it. It’s not much money. I’m learning that spending money on things I enjoy, is really not an expense. Spending money on things that provide no long-term value, that’s what I’m trying to eliminate from the lifestyle.

      Thanks for stopping by again Daisy.

  4. I could write a boo on this topic. A few off the top of my head: rent cars from off airport locations, carpool, redeem Air Miles for last minute flights, buy discounted gift cards, trade coupons to multiply savings, use an unlocked smart phone (international SIM card when travelling), stream TV shows rather than an expensive cable package, change your own tires, change your own oil, use free wifi at Starbucks when travelling, sell unwanted clothes on ebay, take out heavy items from a car to increase fuel economy, buy air filters on ebay and change yourself, avoid mortgage insurance, buy items in their offseason, buy a rug doctor at costco rather than constantly renting one.

    Those are just the ones off the top of my head, I’m sure there will be more that come to mind later 🙂

      1. Changing your own oil and tires isn’t a big deal, it’s easily learned.

        I stopped doing both myself for many years but started again a couple of years ago. First because I use synthetic oil, and on 3 cars, regular syntheitic oil changes are expesnive. Secondly because my son was old enough to show how to do this. He’s since lost interest, I still do the oil changes because I enjoy it.

        1. I need some ramps to do that. I don’t think the oil change would be too difficult, drain, cap open, pour. It’s the storage and disposal that’s an issue for me.

          I think I will do that more when I get older, have more time to putter around the garage and house.

          That’s the thing eh Glenn, if you enjoy doing something, learning something, you’re more apt to keep doing it. Lots I want to learn how to do, just not enough time to do so, yet. Financial independence is my ticket.

          Thanks for the comment.

          1. No ramps required. I do an Impreza and Echo, without ramps. Just spend a couple of bucks on a good oil change pan from CTC… it is worth the cost for the convenience of the product. as to the used oil, I found a local welding shop that uses it…
            Key is to start integrating these things into your life now, and reap the benefits, independence does not always need to relate back to financial. Independence is earned with putting in the time, so work on building that skill set into your current living patterns, and that way when you “retire” some things won’t be changing at a time when great change will be happening. The problem with retirement form many, is the overwhelming feeling that “everything’ is now different, which is why retirement is something to ease into. – Cheers.

            1. I will do that Phil, re: oil pan.

              I’m starting to do that, the integration you speak of. Financial independence does provide time to learn new things, time that I don’t have right now. Hopefully I can retire, write a bit, have some side-income from a seasonal job and then do whatever else. That would be good in 15 years. That’s the plan anyhow.

  5. My daughter knows not to open the refrigerator always because it is one of the reasons why the electricity bill increases. I’m a coffee addict, but I’m not a fan of going out just to drink coffee on coffee shop.

  6. I’m going to elaborate on this post for some reason. Need a break from a busy day I guess :).

    Losing weight is basically burning more calories than you consumer. So you can either eat less, or exercise more. Of those two, eating less is way easier and more effective.

    SImiliarly, if the goal is to retire well, then you can either spend less, or make more. And I believe that it’s been shown repeatedly that the most effective way to do that is to make more – via being a small business owner.

    So, if that’s the goal, why would someone focus on saving some pennies. Shouldn’t the goal be to become a small business owner? (Corrollary question, as a small business owner, when do I get to the ‘rich’ part?).

    1. I think you’re right Glenn, best to be an entrepreneur vs. saving and counting pennies. The challenge I have with that is, many entrepreneurs fail. Saving is something everyone can do, to some degree.

      The real successful folks are those that spend less than they earn, invest, make money on investments, reinvest, and on top of that, they are entrepreneurs as well. This way, they continue to earn more and save more over time – I suspect that really accelerates the path to financial freedom.

  7. Tall_Gal_in_Toronto · Edit

    Great tips! And, do turn off lights. Buy vehicle windshield washer fluid and use it in a spray bottle instead of expensive Windex or other similar products. If you’re not a big TV watcher, fire the cable TV company and buy an indoor/outdoor antenna. (Some people get 20-25 channels.) Learn to cook and stop buying pre-cooked/prepared foods which are expensive.

    1. I’m considering firing Rogers cable this spring. We’ll see. There are some shows worth watching on cable, hard to get online unless you want to download them. Look to cook, another great one.

  8. The most cheap-assed thing I’ve read is taking the last sliver of soap and squishing it on to the new bar of soap instead of throwing the sliver out.

    Except even if it’s a cheapo thing to do, it actaully saves you the conundrum of when you get a new bar of soap out and trhow out the last piece – doesn’t matter, because you’re now using all the soap.

    It’s cheap-assed. I doubt it saves any appreciable amount of money :).

  9. Learn some basic skills to become a true DIY person. You can save buckets by learning basic electrical, plumbing & construction skills. Perform basic car maintenance at home – oil changes, fluids, cleanings and plugs. All these things are simple to do, and save a lifetime of hassle coordinating others to do for you. – Cheers.

    1. Phil, there are exactly the things I want to learn when I retire/semi-retire. How to do my own plumbing, electrical, etc.

      A little know-how can go a long ways, and save money in the process. Thanks for your comment.

  10. I heard from many people that turning energy saving lights on and off actually wastes more energy than leaving it on all the time. Any truth to this? Personally, I always turn off the light if I exit a room, even if it’s just for a moment.

    1. I’ve actually never heard of that….turning lights off costs more money Brian? I suppose if you constantly flip them off and on but who does that? Maybe for a home dance party/strobe lights? 🙂

  11. SSS: VOIP has come a long way. I tried it when it was in its infancy, and it was unusable. These days, I don’t think there are very many people who could even tell the difference.

    As for the rest of the list, I’m already doing pretty-much all of those things. That should make me feel great, but it doesn’t. If I want to make any further progress on frugal living at this point, I’m going to have to resort to things like piggybacking on my neighbours’ Internet connection, which probably isn’t a great idea now that I think about it.

    1. Piggybacking on my neighbours’ Internet connection, probably not a great idea.

      If you’re already doing those things are more, you’re probably living a frugal life. Nothing wrong with that. Some spend, some save, some can do both 🙂

    1. I have been using voip for several years and find the quality has improved a lot. You should try it again. Also voip has many more features than regular land line phones and the plans usually include North American long distance.
      I use voip and a pay as you go cell phone and my monthly costs for both phone and cell are well under $20 per month.

      1. I agree Debbie, I wouldn’t have considered using VOIP a few years ago. Now, seems pretty good. And, I can keep my home number. Not a bad deal for a few loonies per month.

        If I didn’t love TSN and Golf Channel so much, I would have cut my cable bill a long time ago.


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